Despite her difficult past, this dog is kind to everyone she meets

Max is a survivor who always seems to find joy whether she’s looking for it or not. And that’s really saying something, because ― judging from the BB pellet found lodged in her back foot ― there was a time in the young dog’s life when joy must have been hard to come by.

When Max first arrived at Best Friends in Utah from a rescue group in Louisiana, the team could see she was a joyful young dog ready to take on the world. But she clearly had some medical issues that needed to be addressed. Not only was she dragging one of her back legs, but she also had some skin lesions that needed a closer look.

Turns out, Max had been shot in the foot by a BB gun and the resulting permanent nerve damage caused her to drag her leg. She also had an infection in her paw, but despite all this, she remained happy.

[Foster family takes a chance on a dog in need]

Max the dog giving a kiss to a person wearing a backwards baseball hat

Once-injured dog finds her stride

The team ordered a special boot to protect her foot and keep her healthy by preventing infections. “She adjusted quickly to anything you put her through, including her new custom boot,” says Gillian Freed, lifesaving and care specialist. “When I put it on her, she seemed completely unfazed, per usual.”

After being fitted with her boot, Max went on to a foster home, where she enjoyed meeting visitors, carefully greeting each one. With her outgoing personality, it didn’t take her long to find a forever home. And as actress Marilyn Monroe once said: “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”

[Adopter speaks deaf dog’s language]

Max the dog wearing her custom, protective boot

Conquering fears (and having fun doing it)

Today, Max is proving that with the right attitude and a little perseverance, you can do just about anything. “She’s been amazing.” says Max’s adopter, Dawn McMurrin, noting that Max still has a few fears to overcome, such as walking on stairs and tile, but is confident she will soon find her footing. After all, she’s come so far and coped with so much.

In the meantime, Max is busy building a deep connection with the family’s toddler. In fact, Dawn says the two buddies are always looking for ways to make a fun mess together. “They became fast friends and troublemakers,” says Dawn, who looks forward to watching them grow up together. “Max has been such a beautiful addition to our family.”

Max the dog lying on a bed with a toddler holding her paw

Spread joy this season

This year, give a dog at your local shelter the ultimate gift: a home of their own.

Adopt a dog near you

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Photos courtesy of Dawn McMurrin and Best Friends staff